Insightful look into Joomla! VirtueMart eCommerce engine : Part1

“Amazing things will happen when you listen to the customer.”

“eMarketer expects retail ecommerce sales will increase to $4.058 trillion in 2020, making up 14.6% of total retail spending that year.”

“Asia-Pacific will remain the world’s largest retail ecommerce market”

So, eCommerce is no more aloof sector pursued only by a horde of people.

Rather it is endorsed and adopted by people in general, especially in developing countries.

What we want to focus in this article is Joomla! eCommerce, that is VirtureMart engine in specific.

Target Audience

VirtueMart site owners as well as Joomla! developers.

All types of web developers will also benefit by going through this text.

To experienced PHP developers and Joomla! veterans,  this article may prove introductory rather much knowledge giving.

VirtueMart Engine Inner Workings

By far, software engineers and online shoppers have listened words like

etc. more often than not but VirtueMart virtues are NOT very popular and therefore, web developers underestimate its capabilities many times, in comparison with those of 1st tier eCommerce packages.

With expert designers in place, VirtueMart can deliver unique look and feel stores.

When building Joomla! modules and components, knowing the system from front to back is quite important.

We will briefly see  following aspects of Joomla! VirtueMart:

  • Navigating through the VirtueMart directories
  • Understanding of the Joomla! URL path
  • Joomla! presentation framework
  • VirtueMart presentation framework
  • VirtueMart themes and templates overview
  • How to customize VirtueMart

After just this much of discussion, you will be able to tailor the VirtueMart shop to make it as how you want.

Knowing English is enough, no prior experience of being developer is needed if you are supported by some professional to implement what is given in this blog.

    1. Navigating through the VirtueMart directories

This is an ideal start for any kind of web project.

Before going deeper, introduction is must to avoid mistakes in future.

If you open FILE MANAGER from cPanel of your website, you will be amazed to see size of Joomla!  CMS

It consists of approximately

  • 350 directories
  • 5,000 files

We need to get our hands dirty from only few of these files during course of customization.

Top (root) level folders or directories you should be careful to touch are

  1. administrator
  2. components
  3. modules
  4. plugins

2nd, 3rd and 4th directories are directly tied to type of Joomla! extensions we build.

Navigate to components directory, you will find com_content file. Our website content goes in this folder behind the scenes, when we add them through WYSIWYG editor.

From mentioned above directories, ‘administrator’ is technically ROOT directory  for Joomla! project.

Like every webpart, Joomla! is also divided into

  • Frontend
  • Backend

Frontend files reside in actual root directory on web server while backend stuff is hosted on Joomla! root directory, i.e. administrator.

Above discovery is all about Joomla! rather VirtueMart’s entry in the picture until yet.

If you install VirtureMart, it will also follow Joomla! protocol.

That is, VirtueMart’s frontend stuff will go into actual root, with name


Under com_virtuemart  will be ‘themes’ directory as theme is front end technology which is all about colors, look, webpage layout etc. rather functionality.

And don’t be confused because you will find one more com_virtuemart under administrator, it is designated for backend features.

Under com_virtuemart of backend or ’ Joomla! root’ are

  1. classes
  2. html
  3. languages
  4. sql


We are closing our discussion for directory tree structure at this point, because it will defeat purpose of blog otherwise, it needs entire textbook to explain directory tree structure completely.

Joomla! project’s backend com_virtuemart folder

( resides under /administrator )

  1. Understanding of the Joomla! URL path

Alike complicated directory tree structure, Joomla! website’s URLs configuration settings are much simpler without possessing any ambiguity.

All URLs start with index.php?

This is certainly NOT good from search engine perspective.

Take for example, HOME page of site would look like this:

The file index.php is the foremost entry point to any Joomla! website, although there are very few other entry points as well.  We will NOT look at those entry points in this text.

Therefore, if you want to take site offline or restrict all entries to site, like in case of suspicious activities identified, simply alter parameters related to index.php.

Joomla! control panel’s default URL is designated to com_cpanel directory assigned to index.php as query string.

i.e. index.php?=com_cpanel

added to your own website’s URL opens Joomla! control panel.

Developing appropriate URL policies from beginning of project makes debugging and testing process easier and results in lesser maintenance.

We will not engage with nuts and bolts of URL alteration to make them search engine friendly.

“In the beginning, e-commerce was really about getting commodity products online as cheaply as possible. Now, we’re moving into the more exciting phase of e-commerce, where it’s about emotional products – the things that people really cherish.”

Continue exploring more at..

Simply to read more articles on

  • web application development
  • eCommerce related ideas or
  • to  get practical inputs or techniques to enhance your own mobile application, navigate to

Bliss Web Solution Pvt. Ltd. is a top-notch web development company specializing in optimization of  high traffic websites.

To delve deeper into technicality or optimize your large scale Magento web portal, just drop an e-mail to us at

and we will reply you within 24 working hours.

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Just call us on  +91 98256 77818 to raise a ticket or to input new project in our system to complete it within tight deadlines of time.

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